Japan gives $24m for Tanzania-Rwanda bridge

Japan agreed with Tanzania on Monday to finance a grant worth 1.86-billion yen for the construction of a bridge linking the east African country with its neighbour Rwanda to help boost trade. Japan will also provide Tanzania with an additional 37-million yen towards a feasibility study for a project aimed at easing road traffic congestion in the country’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. East Africa’s second-largest economy – one of Africa’s biggest per capita aid recipients – increased infrastructure spending in its 2011/12 budget by 85% to 2.78-trillion Tanzanian shillings. Construction of the Rusumo international bridge and one-stop border facilities between Tanzania and Rwanda is expected to be completed within two years, said Tanzania’s Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo. “This project will contribute to an efficient logistics network between Tanzania and Rwanda and will most certainly have a positive effect on the economic development of both nations,” Japan’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Hiroshi Nakagawa, said in a joint press conference with Tanzania’s finance minister. Mkulo said construction of the two-lane bridge and border facilities would boost trade between the two member states of the East African Community (EAC) trade bloc. “Construction of the Rusumo international bridge to replace the existing one built some 40 years ago, will enhance regional integration and facilitate increased trade between Tanzania and Rwanda,” said Mkulo.

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